On Thursday, Steve Stamkos addressed the media for the first time since being ruled out of the Olympics, displaying a mix of disappointment over his own situation and happiness for the inclusion of veteran teammate Martin St. Louis.
“I’m very excited for Marty,” Stamkos said. “He deserved to be on the team since day one. He’s going to go over there and prove why he deserves a spot on this team.”
But the good feelings only went so far. Stamkos, who suffered a broken right tibia in mid-November, was clearly disappointed with his inability to participate in the Winter Games, saying the news caught him totally by surprise. The 23-year-old was so confident in a healthy diagnosis he felt he’d be medically cleared for tonight’s game against Toronto, which would’ve been the first time he suited up in 39 games.
“I was a little surprised,” he said. “It was a little shocking.”
Stamkos says he felt great and stable on the ice during practice and battle drills, another reason why the results of yesterday’s CT scan — Lightning team physician Dr. Ira Gutentag explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site wasn’t 100 percent consolidated — came as such a shock. Stamkos added he’s yet to suffer a setback and will continue to work out and skate as per usual.
In the end, though, all of Stamkos’ hard work and dedication couldn’t overcome the fact a fairly significant leg break required more than 12 weeks to heal — and that’s what made yesterday’s news so difficult to take.
“I did everything I could to give myself a chance,” he said. “I don’t think I can describe feelings I went through in last 48 hours.”